by Jayjay Jaiho and Trinity Biglang Awa
Manila, Philippines- Short of calling their rejection in the May 2010 polls, two major presidential candidates—the administration backed Gilbert Teodoro of Lakas-Kampi merger party and Liberal Party (LP) standard bearer Sen. Benigno Simeon (Noynoy) Aquino III belong to big land lord clans who vast haciendas in Tarlac, Pangasinan, Isabela, Negros, Caraga, Palawan and other parts of the country, according to Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chair Prof. Jose Maria Sison.
Sison, the chief consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in its peace negotiation with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and current chair of The Netherlands based -International League of People’s Struggle (ILPS), said only progressive candidates who espouse genuine land reform deserve the support of the electorate in the May 2010 elections.
In his message to organizers of the 10-day Lakbayan ng Anakpawis Para sa Lupa at Katarungan led by Anakpawis party list and Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), Sison said It is just to demand genuine land reform and the free distribution of land to the tillers as the solution to the land problem. “Land reform must be realized on the strength of the peasant movement and for the purpose of attaining the economic, social and political liberation of the peasant masses. It must not be limited to the confines of reactionary legislation,” he added.
The NDFP political consultant said the recently passed Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPer) is essentially intended to dampen the peasant demand for land and preserve the feudal and semifeudal forms of exploitation.
“ As in previous bogus land reform programs, CARPer retains the same loopholes and tricks for the landlords to prevent or evade land reform. It is necessary to bring to national and international attention the local struggles for land and take up the most outstanding cases of land accumulation and landgrabbing at the expense of the peasants and the farm workers. The people want to know more about the land greed, rapacity and brutality of certain landlord families that dominate the semicolonial and semifeudal ruling system,” he said.
Lakbayan organizer and KMP Secretary General Danilo Ramos said on Monday an advance group of farmers and supporters led by KMP, the Katipunan ng Samahang Magbubukid ng Timog Katagalugan (Kasama-TK), Anakpawis party list and Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) will present the electoral agenda for genuine land reform to the Philippine Senate which is set to resume today.
At the House of Representatives, Anakpawis party list Rep. Rafael Mariano will deliver a privilege speech devoted to the agrarian and human rights issues carried by the 10-day Lakbayan ng Anakpawis Para sa Lupa at Katarungan.
Ramos said a petition letter urging the Senate to investigate the specific cases of agrarian problems which include the 6,453-hectare Hacienda Luisita own by the Cojuangco-Aquino clan in Tarlac, the 8,650-hectare Hacienda Looc in Nasugbu, Batangas and the ongoing dispute on the 3,100 hectare agricultural land inside the Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation (FMMR) in Laur, Nueva Ecija.
The KMP leader said a presidential forum is being planned with presidential and vice-presidential candidates as main resource persons. Ramos said presidential and vice presidential wannabes excluding Teodoro and Aquino will be invited to the forum. KMP and Anakpawis will bring up the issue of Hacienda Luisita and other agrarian cases.
The North Wing contingent composed of marching farmers from Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Benguet, Abra, Cagayan, Isabela, Tarlac, Pangasinan, Zambales, Bataan, Pampanga, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija and Aurora will arrive in Manila on January 20. The South wing group composed of peasant activists from Mindanao Island, Panay, Negros, Eastern and Central Visayas, Bicol and Southern Tagalog regions will arrive in Metro Manila on the same day in Alabang, Muntinlupa.
The Lakbayan will stage a vigil at the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) on January 21 and will stage a 10-kilometer march to Don Chino Roces in commemoration of the 23rd anniversary of Mendiola Massacre.